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XXI

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SEPULLIA



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     SEPVLLIA, a moneyer surnamed Macer, known
only from its coins, struck in silver by the
moneyers of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. --
It has thus been the instrument, however, of
handing down to us portraits of Julius Caesar in
various attire, and with different inscriptions.
And, on the reverse accompanying the names of
P. SEPVLLIVS MACER, we see in one instance the
favourite tutelary of the Dictator, Venus Victrix ;
and in another the dedicatory epigraph CLEMENTIAE CAESARIS, also of frequent occurence on the coins of Julius. -- The following is one of the rarer types of this moneyer : --
     No legend. -- A veiled head, bearded, before
it the lituus, behind it the praefericulum.
     Rev. -- P. SEPVLLIVS MACER.  An equestrian
(Desultor) guiding two horses, which he urges
on with raised whip ; behind is a palm branch
and a garland.
     The veiled head on this denarius is considered
to be that of Mark Antony. And from the circumstance of its exhibiting a beard (the fact
being recorded that Antony suffered his beard to
grow for some time in token of his grief for
Caesars murder), it would appear that these
silver coins of Sepullius were struck not long
after the death of the Dictator, the head of
Julius being placed on some of them, in grateful
remembrance of such a man, by the then
governing triumvirate.
     The male figure on the reverse, riding on one
horse and leading another, is regarded by
numismatic antiquaries as one of the desultores, or equestrian vaulters [the Ducrows and Battys of their day], whose part it was, at the
Apollinarian and other public games, to spur on
two horses together at their fullest speed, so
that, being mounted on one, they presently
jumped upon the other, and back again alternately, with wonderful quickness. -- Hence, by a metaphor, the light and fickle character, he who courted many mistresses, or who often changed political sides, was called desultor. Thus Ovid --

Non mihi mille placent, non sum desultor amoris.

But Manilius (Astron. 1. v. 85), whom Eckhel
happily quotes, affords the clearest illustration
to the type in question :

     Nec non alterno desultor sidere dorso
Quadrupedum, et stabiles poterit defigere plantas, Perque volebat equos, ludens per terga volantum.


These bold and skillful horseriders are likewise
typified on coins of the Marcia and Calpurnia
moneyers.

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